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Neuherberg,- Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München have discovered a genetic change in thyroid cancer that points to a previous exposure of the thyroid to ionising radiation. The gene marker, a so-called „radiation fingerprint“ was identified in papilliary thyroid cancer cases from Chernobyl victims, but was absent from the thyroid cancers in patients with no history of radiation exposure. The results are published in the current issue of PNAS…….
This breakthrough is the first time since the reactor accident in 1986 that scientists have been able to discriminate between the cancers caused by the radioactive contamination and those that arise naturally. Prof. Zitzelsberger ascribes the success of this study to the careful collection, documentation and storage of thyroid cancers from the Chernobyl region in the Chernobyl Tissue Bank. He noted that this unique collection of materials made it possible for the team to compare for the first time tumours from children of the same age and regional background. The availability of the genetic marker, according to Prof. Zitzelsberger, will improve both the clinical diagnosis of thyroid cancer and our understanding of how radioactive iodine causes the disease to develop. In future studies funded by EURATOM in the project …..
Hess, J. et al Gain of chromosome band 7q11 in papillary thyroid carcinomas of young patients is associated with exposure to low-dose irradiation. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS); Link to publication